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GATS News: Volvo showcases SmartWay tractors

DALLAS, Tex. -- Volvo Trucks North America recently added several new options and features to its trucks to further...

A number of safety and environmental features can create a SmartWay eligible Volvo tractor.
A number of safety and environmental features can create a SmartWay eligible Volvo tractor.

DALLAS, Tex. — Volvo Trucks North America recently added several new options and features to its trucks to further enhance their productivity, increase uptime and increase fuel economy.

The new components were on display at the Great American Truck Show (GATS) in Dallas from Aug. 23 to 25.

At GATS, Volvo displayed two Volvo VNs equipped to meet the requirements of the US Environmental Protection Agencys SmartWay program for tractors.

A Volvo VN 780 with a full-height sleeper and a VN 730 mid-roof sleeper were used to show attendees the enhanced aerodynamics and other fuel-saving strategies used to achieve EPAs Certified SmartWay designation for highway sleeper tractors.

Volvo customers are now able to specify a SmartWay-eligible tractor component package when ordering their trucks. The required components are identified in Volvos truck ordering system so that carriers participating in the SmartWay program can ensure their new trucks qualify for EPAs public designation.

One of the SmartWay requirements is for full-height roof fairings, for smooth and efficient airflow over the top of the sleeper to the trailer. The VN 780s aerodynamic roof design accomplishes this while at the same time providing a spacious living area in the sleeper. The mid-roof VN 730 meets the SmartWay requirement with Volvos new fairing for mid-roof tractors. The fairing provides aerodynamic performance for pulling full-height trailers, while retaining the lighter weight of a mid-roof tractor. The new fairing is also available for the Volvo VT 830. The fairing is removable and can be retrofitted to existing VN 730 and VT 830 tractors.

The tire pressure monitoring system will be available as an option for all Volvo highway tractors beginning in the fourth quarter of 2007. The system constantly monitors each wheel using remote sensors and displays real-time tire pressures and temperatures through Volvos Driver Information Display. Drivers receive alerts for individual tires notifying them of over- or under-inflated tires (more than 10% outside set pressure), high temperatures, sudden leaks or loss of pressure and loss of sensor or missing data. Correct tire inflation is an important factor for obtaining maximum fuel economy and tire life, since rolling resistance accounts for more than 30% of a vehicles fuel efficiency at 65 mph.

Volvo recently changed from incandescent bulbs to LED (light-emitting diodes) on all Volvo VN, VT and VHD tractors and trucks for marker lamps and side turn signal repeater lamps. LEDs are now standard for these lamps on all Volvo trucks. LEDs have several advantages compared to incandescent bulbs, including longer life, improved reliability, and reduced service and replacement costs. The LED marker lamps are used in all external sunvisors, as well as the hood air intakes and bumpers of Volvo VT tractors, and have a clear lens with amber LEDs. The side repeaters are mounted on the side of the cab to alert other drivers alongside the truck to an active turn signal. The repeaters have black bezels, clear lenses and amber LEDs.

Increased visibility to other drivers is also the goal of another new component: mirrors with integrated high-intensity LED turn signals. The mirror displays a flashing red arrow at the bottom of the mirror surface when the turn signal is activated by the driver. The signal has two light levels – for day and night driving – and has a 70-degree viewing angle. It is visible to the driver, as well as to other drivers who may be blocked from other seeing turn signals at the back or side of the truck. The mirror with integrated turn signal is now available for the Volvo VN, VT and VHD.

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